Irish History Bitesize
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May 28


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1779 Thomas Moore was born on this day in Dublin. He was a poet and songwriter, with two of his songs, The Minstrel Boy and The Last Rose of Summer still being popular songs today.

Click here to read about more Irish songwriters 
Click here to read how Moore came about to write The Minstrel Boy 
Click here to watch The Minstrel Boy by Irish acts including  Shane MacGowan and The Corrs 
Click here to read how Moore came about to write the Last Rose of Summer 
Click here to watch the Last Rose of Summer performed by bands including Celtic Woman, Clannad and The Fureys

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1798 The Battle of Enniscorthy took place on this day in 1798. It was one of a series of conflicts across Ireland during the United Irishmen’s attempted rebellion in 1798.
Society of United Irishmen

Enniscorthy was a small town on the edge of the main city of Wexford. The town was occupied by around 300 British soldiers. The United Irishmen heavily outnumbered the British, but were much less well armed.

To try and counter this disadvantage, the rebels herded hundreds of cattle into the main town streets, causing panic and confusion. With British soldiers, innocent civilians, United Irishmen rebels and livestock all running in different directions around the town, a mass panic broke out.

The rebels used this confusion as a cover to attack the British soldiers and violent scuffles broke out all across the town. In the end, the British troops fled to the safety of the main city of Wexford. Despite the British soldiers being forced to retreat, they came out on top in the battle, with far more casualties on the side of the rebels.

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1940 Maeve Binchy born on this day in Dublin in 1940. She was a novelist and her books have outsold all other great writers to have come from Ireland, including the huge literary figures such as WB Yeats, James Joyce and Roddy Doyle.

Binchy remained humble throughout her successes, and her down to earth nature made her a much loved character with all she met. She was well-known for her positive outlook on life, and her willingness to see the best in people. After her death in 2012, tributes poured in for her from friends, colleagues and peers from all over the world.

Here are a few of the many great quotes from Maeve Binchy:

“I once tried to write a novel about revenge. It’s the only book I didn’t finish. I couldn’t get into the mind of the person who was plotting vengeance.”

“We’re nothing if we’re not loved. When you meet somebody who is more important to you than yourself that has to be the most important thing in life, really.”

“It’s like if you don’t go to a dance you can never be rejected but you’ll never get to dance either.”

Maeve Binchy. Photo copyright Jon Kay CC3

Click here to read more about Maeve Binchy 
Click here to read Maeve Binchy quotes  
Click here to read more quotes from other great Irish figures  
Click here to read about more great Irish writers

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1970 Glenn Quinn was born in Dublin on this day in 1970. He spent his childhood growing up in both Ireland and America before settling in California to pursue an acting career.

He appeared in an advert for Pepsi but struggled to get cast for major films or television shows initially. However, in 1991 he got a role in the John Travolta movie Shout, and as well as the great exposure and experience this opportunity gave him, he also got to share an on-screen kiss with a young Gwyneth Paltrow in the movie.

Quinn also landed a role in popular American sitcom, Roseanne, as the boyfriend (and later husband) of Becky Connor. Quinn proved a success and remained a mainstay in the comedy for more than seven years.

He was found dead in 2002, after overdosing on heroin. He was 32 years old when he died.

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1973 Happy birthday to Ryan Tubridy, born in Dublin on this day in 1973. He is one of the most familiar faces on Irish television, having hosted several shows. He is most noted for being the host of The Late Late Show since 2009.

Tubridy was named Dubliner of the Year in 2009, and is a popular figure in Ireland. He is known to have a passion for American politics, and has written a book about President Kennedy’s visit to Ireland in 1963.

Ryan_Tubridy last tweet _-Louise-McCormack_CC3Tubridy was one of the most influential Tweeters in Ireland up until 2011, when he gave up the social networking site with this post to his followers:

“Dear Twitter, this is my last tweet. It’s been lots of fun but I must leave. No drama, just not enough time. Thanks and take care. #goodbye”

Despite his abandonment of online media, Tubridy remains one of the most recognisable personalities in Ireland.

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2003 James Plunkett died on this day in 2003. He was a noted writer who wrote numerous radio plays and novels, as well as several short story collections. His novel Strumpet City was based in Dublin in the early 20th century in the years leading up to the Dublin Lock-Out led by James Larkin. He also wrote a play about the life and achievements of Larkin. Plunkett worked in television in his later career and won the Jacob’s Award in 1965 and 1969.

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